Monday, February 6, 2012

Interview With Madison Johns - Crime and Horror Writer

This is a bit of a departure from the normal musings on my blog but I am very proud to present the following interview with Madison Johns.  As a fan of good mystery novels and admirer of those who write them, it is a pleasure to be able to interview an author of that genre.  Here are Madison's responses to my questions.

1. Tell us something about yourself.
  I'm 48 and I drive a 2002 Sunfire that you might notice has smoke billowing from the hood. I'm a bit nutty, but in a good way. I'm the one with the freaked out hair you'd see at Walmart. I love to make people laugh, especially people that are sick. I work as a certified nursing care assistant, it's a hard job, but full of rewards. I love taking care of others, and have found a way to make people smile even when they are very ill.

2.  When did you start writing?

  When I was a child, I had all these stories inside my head. You know the ones where everybody thinks they're great. Everything from being an Indian to a main character in some sappy romance novel. Four years ago, I decided to start typing them out, and as a result, I finished short stories, two novels. I'm currently working on polishing them for publication.

3.  You are a crime writer.  How do you do your research?

 I have also written two horror short stories, but yes, I'm geared toward mysteries. I find it very interesting how crimes are solved. I research online for the most part. It takes time and patience to find good websites. For my yet unreleased thriller, The Bone Extractor, I researched extensively. Everything from how to lift fingerprints to details on how autopsies are done. For Armed and Outrageous, I researched the Michigan State Police website. I researched what you need to do to obtain a concealed gun permit, and how to get a private investigator's license.

4.  You describe your main character in your book, “Armed and Outrageous” as follows, “Agnes Barton is not your typical senior. She drives a red, hot Mustang, shops at Victoria's Secret, and has a knack for sticking her nose where it does not belong.”  Tell us how you came up with Agnes.  

 Laughs, I thought it sounded like a name a senior would have. Her partner in crime, Eleanor, is the name of a former resident. When I worked for a nursing home, I took care of three Eleanors, all of them bat shit crazy. Many of the names I used in Armed are based on real people, but I created Agnes out of my imagination. I know many senior citizens that don't fit the mold of what people think a senior should be. 

5.  Since Agnes is a senior, you must have some thoughts on ageing. Tell us about them.

 I think we should have fun until our bodies break down or minds go bad enough that we drive our kids crazy. I believe in longevity. Doing that means we need to take care of ourselves. Growing older isn't that bad of a thing.  

6.  What other books do you have available?
 Coffin Tales Season Of Death, it includes two short stories Jack-o'-lantern and Hell Crow. Both stories are horror, but not the grossed out kind.

7.  Any advice for new authors?
 Try to be original as you can be, which is practically impossible these days. Be yourself and write what gets you excited. Make lasting friendships with other writers, read their blogs. Grow a very thick skin because you're going to need it. Growing as a writer means honing your craft. Listen to feedback with an open ear. It's hard to take sometimes, but it will help you improve. Hiring an editor is a great idea. Surround yourself with positive people.

8.  What is the most difficult part of the writing and publishing process for you and how do you overcome it?
 Trying to find time to write without interruptions and of course editing. I'm not a grammar whiz that's for sure. Hiring an editor is a huge investment, something I will be doing soon. Formatting for Amazon is not a treat. I hired a formatter, but learned how to do it myself now. It's been a learning experience.

9.  What is your measure of success in your writing?
  That people are interested enough in me that they'll buy my books. I've gathered interest in my upcoming senior sleuth, which is huge to me. I'm excited about this book and hopeful looking toward the future. I spent time getting to know people on Facebook on a personal level. I think it's important to be a "real" person. How many people can say that an author takes the time to interact with you. Best selling authors can't do that, but I can and will continue to do so.

10.  Where can the readers find your books?

 Coffin Tales Season of Death is available on Amazon.

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to the questions, Madison!

Madison's website is Madison Johns


  1. Loved the parts on making sick people laugh, and enjoying ageing (till we can't possibly go on anymore). I like an honest, down-to-earth tone in an author. Will check out your ebook in a minute. Nice interview, Madison & Barry!

  2. Thanks Claudine. I have always thought you should be who you really are and not who people want or expect you to be. If you are truly yourself, you can never go wrong. Sometimes the best medicine is a smile on your face and laughter.

  3. A pleasure to meet you, Madison! Terrific interview!

  4. Hi, Barry,

    Just stopping by from Twitter to say hi. What a fascinating blog! Your projects are inspiring. Keep up the good work!

    Allison Quering

  5. Hi Allison,

    Thank you very much! I am glad you liked it.
    All the best!